SHAD Students to get Real Life Entrepreneur Experience at ConnexionWorks

SHAD students Amy Dai, Andrew Ko and Diyasha Sen (Image: Andrew Finlay)

SAINT JOHN–Three SHAD students have joined up with ConnexionWorks and Vennture Garage to get an authentic sense of entrepreneurship and startup culture in action.

Sixteen-year-old Diyasha Sen and seventeen-year-olds Andrew Ko and Amy Dai have completed SHAD programs and started providing support to entrepreneurs in Saint John. Enterprise Saint John entrepreneur development officer Joanna Killen says the students will be working on special projects to help the entrepreneurs develop business plans, validate marketing ideas and work on complex developer problems.

Killen says the idea to bring the students into ConnexionWorks came about during talks with SHAD coordinator Nicholas Clermont.

“He (Clermont) indicated the students really had a huge influential experience with SHAD in regards to entrepreneurship and they are just super excited to get in and get their hands dirty and try to help (using) some of the things they learned at SHAD,” Killen said.

The first week for the SHAD students at ConnexionWorks will touch on business growth and marketing sales strategies while the second week will include working directly with entrepreneurs in the Vennture Garage. Killen says they hope to get the students directly involved in gathering data for marketing early on.

Killen says that while the students are still a bit young to have decided exactly what career path they want to take, they’ve all expressed interest in particular fields.

“Andrew is really into math and science. Diyasha is into communications and English and writing and Amy is into science and wanting to figure out how to generate energy from photosynthesis,” Killen said. “They’re just all very different, high-level kids, in every club, organization, sport, musical thing. They’re just absolutely those over-achiever talented type kids.”

Killen says the program will benefit the students by helping to foster their growth and give them a true understanding of what it takes to be an entrepreneur by helping them decide whether or not this is the right path for them.

“I think they’re going to get a real life experience of what it’s like to be involved in a startup,” Killen said. “They did a figurative version of that in their SHAD workshops this summer but it’ll be great to see how they are able to apply what they learned there with actual functioning startups.”

“We just want them to leave either feeling really excited about it or knowing that that’s not where they want to take their lives. We’re just trying to be another connection in the community that can help them make those decisions.”